Electronic Voting in Australia

Okay, we’ve all seen and heard about the shitfight that took place over the past three months, known as the 2016 Federal Election. Votes not counted for two whole days, the best part of 14 days before a result that’s not entirely accurate becomes known…
all the hassles that can be easily wiped away with the introduction of electronic voting.

So, “What’s the best way to do that?”, I hear you ask.

Well, first and foremost, the security of the votes is paramount. In order to get that security, each and every Polling Place would need to have its’ own off-grid private network. By that I mean the touch screen computers in each Polling Place would not have any ability to be accessed from the outside world, or have any connection to existing telecoms infrastructure. Only after polling concluded at 6pm on election day would one single authorised person, namely the Returning Officer for that polling booth, be able to collate the votes that had been cast on the touchscreen PC’s, then forward that data via a secure hardline internet connection directly to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). There would of course be no identifiable tags to show what time Elector X cast their vote, or what polling place the data came from, making each elector essentially anonymous. With an encrypted single client connection to the AEC’s data centre, the only real ‘checks’ the AEC could make which might possibly be intercepted by ‘hackers’, are:
1) How many registered voters attended that Polling Place?
2) How many absentee votes were cast?
3) How many completed ballots were sent to the AEC? and
4) Did Polling Place X submit their data (Yes/No)?

On Election Day, it wouldn’t matter where you were in the country, you’d simply turn up at your nearest Polling Place, offer suitable identification, your name would be marked off the roll electronically – over a direct connection to the AEC to eliminate any opportunity for Voter X to vote twice – and the staff member would direct you to a private booth where a touchscreen was set up with the ballot page for your electorate. This would eliminate the issues faced during the 2016 Election where people wishing to vote ‘absentee’ were not able to complete a ballot paper, simply because the polling place they attended did not have ballot papers for every single electorate in the country. The Returning Officer could go online to the AEC’s secure system, download the correct ballot papers for the individual elector, copy that to a touch screen and submit the voter’s preferences to the AEC (once the person has made his/her decisions) with all the other votes at the end of the day. This method would not identify the voter in any way, as the data would simply be added to what the AEC received for the candidates in that voter’s electorate without being tagged as coming from a certain booth.

An electronic voting system would also eliminate ‘donkey’ votes, and also prevent people from not filling out ballot papers correctly. A touch screen system simply would not allow an incomplete ballot to be submitted, therefore ensuring people voted correctly to generate a much more accurate result. So, what do I think it might look like?
With artwork compiled by Hairy, I’m guessing you’d see on the screen in front of you the names of each candidate, the party they represent, a square beside each name – pretty much very similar to what we’ve had on paper – a number keypad with Enter key and a SUBMIT button. You would tap the square of the person you were choosing, tap the numpad to enter what preference you were giving them, and tap the Enter key. If you wanted to change your mind, you simply tap the square you want to change, tap the Backspace key (‘X’ in a box) and enter another number. Once the required number of squares were filled, the green ‘Submit Vote’ button would become active, tap that button for a “Are you sure (Y/N)?” popup to appear, and you would then cast your vote or go back and make changes.

EXAMPLE SCREEN FOR HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
houserepsscreen

EXAMPLE SCREEN FOR SENATE/UPPER HOUSE:
senatetouchscreen

Pretty simple system to implement, not too difficult to explain to voters about how to use it, nothing much different to technologies people haven’t seen in shopping centres for those ‘store locator’ panels, easy to use, and brings about a definite accurate result of the polls much sooner. The above features of this much simpler system would be assured, and would spark cries for the elimination of ‘postal voting’ for all but Australian citizens of voting age living overseas. Pre-poll voting would be conducted with exactly the same electronic system envisaged, but of course no access to the submitted voting results available until the close of polls on election day. Also, this ‘pre-poll voting’ would only be available for the five business days prior to the official Saturday Election Day, and in limited locations to minimise disruption.

One last major change electronic voting would bring, is a much more accurate capture of those who fail to vote. You’ll essentially have six days to visit a polling place to cast your vote, removing any excuse. Mobile polling places will, of course be set up in every hospital and aged care facility across the country, giving every single person of voting age plenty of opportunity to have their say.

An electronic voting system is indeed the country’s future. Thing is, if the fucktards in Canberra don’t wake the fuck up and bring something like this in before the next election, we’ll end up going through the same shitfight we’ve had over the last few weeks following July 2 2016. Here endeth the lesson!

With Thanks to Hairy…

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